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24 Jul 2018
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Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports. Look out, Olympics.

The Bardmoor Country club has a brand new facility near Madeira Beach.       Also nearby is  Seminole Rec Center which has games daily.  In St. Petersburg, the Walter Fuller Recreation Center is another great location.  Pickleball was Invented in 1965 by former state Representative Joel Pritchard.  The game is being played with increasing frequency worldwide.   Players bat a ball in singles or doubles. They play indoors or out. They move more side to side than in tennis. They rap the ball with what looks like an oversized pingpong paddle.     News of the fun game spread by word of mouth, then in 1972, Pickle-ball Inc. was officially incorporated.   The first tournament was held in 1976. In 1984, the USAPA was established. By 1990 pickleball had spread to all 50 states.   In 2008, there were 420 places to play listed on the USAPA map. By 2018, that number had swelled to more than 4,000. The nonprofit USA Pickleball Association ( lists on its website 328 sites in Florida alone for pickleball play.   Nearly 3 million participates nationwide and the numbers are growing.   Almost all pickleball courts are measured out on courts used for other sports: tennis, badminton, volleyball. A typical tennis court can be repurposed into two pickleball courts. The courts measure 20 by 44 feet, and there's a 3-foot-high net across the middle.  Skill levels: learners, intermediates and advanced. Players are ranked, as in tennis, according to skill levels.